Hacking through a company’s security protections used to require a lot of time and skill. However, today’s technological advances make it easier than ever for bad actors to find an organization’s most vulnerable points. The purpose of penetration testing is to help businesses find out where they are most likely to face an attack and proactively shore up those weaknesses before exploitation by hackers.
What Is Penetration Testing?
Organizations can define penetration testing by what it is meant to assess. That includes all networks, applications, devices, and physical security components. It mimics the actions of malicious actors. Experienced cybersecurity experts leverage penetration testing to improve a company’s security posture and remove any vulnerabilities that leave it open to attack.
When appropriately done, penetration testing goes beyond merely stopping criminals from unauthorized access to a company’s systems. It creates real-world scenarios that show businesses how well their current defenses would fare when confronted with a full-scale cyber attack.
Why Do I Need a Penetration Test?
Penetration testing is an everyday part of the job description for us here at Red Team Security. In fact, it’s our specialty. Something else we deal with almost daily, though, is answering the question: “What is a penetration test and why do I need it?”
Penetration tests let companies evaluate the overall security of their IT infrastructure. A company may have robust security protocols in one area but be lacking in another. The high cost of a successful cyber attack means no company should wait for a real-world scenario to play out before going on offense. Using penetration testing tools to expose holes in a business’s security layer allows security experts and Pen Testers to address any shortcomings before they become critical liabilities.
- Test Security Controls — Gain insights into the overall health of your application, network, and physical security layers.
- Find Real-World Vulnerabilities — Expose endpoints in your computer systems most susceptible to attacks from adversaries.
- Ensure Compliance — Companies can maintain information security compliance with industry standards for penetration testing.
- Reinforce Security Posture — Penetration testing assists businesses in prioritizing and addressing their vulnerability with a security program.
What Are the Benefits of Penetration Testing?
When it comes to who typically performs a penetration test, it is entities charged with protecting private citizens’ information. Even the best IT department may not have the objectivity needed to find security flaws that could leave an organization exposed to hackers. When it comes to who typically performs these functions, it’s best to have a penetration tester conduct black-box, white box testing, and other security assessments from the outside.
Having someone separate from the business conduct intrusion tests can provide value in the following ways:
- Determine the feasibility of security holding up under different kinds of cyberattacks.
- Show how the exploitation of low-risk vulnerabilities could lead to a lot of damage at higher levels.
- Detect harder-to-find risks through automated network and application scanning
- Assess and quantify the potential impacts on operational and business functions
- Judge how successfully network defenses perform when faced with an attack
- Quantify the need for more significant investment in security technology and personnel.
- Help thwart future attacks by implementing and validating updated security controls.
Pen testing shouldn’t be limited to a one-time effort. It should be part of a system of ongoing vigilance to keep organizations safe through various types of security testing. Updates to security patches or new components used in a company website could expose new risks that open the door to hackers. That’s why companies should schedule regular penetration testing to help uncover any new security weaknesses, and preventing any opportunity to exploit vulnerabilities. Equipping your organization with smart, actionable security measures after our penetration testing services is critical.
What Are the Different Types of Penetration Testing?
Network vulnerabilities typically fall into three categories: hardware, software, and human. Let’s look at different testing types to understand more about what a pen test consists of and what types of potential vulnerabilities your business is facing;
Web Application Pen Testing
Web App Penetration tests search out places in an application open to exploitation by a hacker. Installing a new third-party component that allows viewing sensitive data on a company website could provide an opening into company systems. Security consultants carry out attack simulations designed to:
- Find application security flaws.
- Summarize the risks they present to a company.
- Provide insights into how to address the flaws.
RedTeam Security uses experts who come from an application development background. The use of that experience to zero in on issues common to web development and to develop actionable remediation strategies to address web application vulnerabilities like:
- Cross-Site Request Forgery
- Injection Flaws
- Weak Session Management
- Cross-Site Scripting
- Insecure Direct Object References
Network Security Pen Testing
When it comes to network security, experts use network penetration tests to find places a hacker might exploit in various systems, networks, network devices (think routers, switches), and hosts. They look for ways a hacker might find real-world opportunities to compromise a company, gain access, or unauthorized access to sensitive data. Many also try to take over the company’s systems for malicious purposes.
RedTeam Security uses focused network infrastructure penetration testing to identify system-level and network flaws like:
- Product-specific Vulnerabilities
- Wireless Network Vulnerabilities
- Rogue Services
- Weak Passwords
- Inadequate, Inconsistent or Non-Existent Password Protocols
It helps to have security experts with a background in supporting systems, networks, and hosts. That experience allows penetrations testers to come up with intrusion tests that ultimately improve an organization’s security posture.
Physical Penetration Testing
Physical penetration testing measures the strength of a company’s existing security controls. It looks for any weaknesses vulnerable to discovery and manipulation by hackers. They may compromise physical barriers like sensors, cameras, and locks to gain physical access to sensitive business areas. That could lead to data breaches through compromising systems and networks.
Some of the industries most concerned about these kinds of attacks include:
- Banking Institutions
- Technology Firms
- Healthcare Institutions
- Government Services
- Hospitality Services
- Retail Services
- Armored Transport Services
Leveraging physical penetration testing helps organizations stop unauthorized access into secure environments. It also provides invaluable insights into remedial guidance and ways to correct critical issues.
Cryptocurrency Penetration Testing
Cryptocurrency pen tests look for weaknesses in software, applications, systems, hosts, and devices used in cryptocurrency transactions and storage protocols. They should also check the social engineering aspect, like phishing attempts on company employees, vendors, and other stakeholders to gain passwords or other essential data to hack cryptocurrency networks.
RedTeam Security also conducts cryptocurrency pen testing scenarios mimicking physical attacks on cryptocurrency facilities like:
- Bitcoin ATMs
- Hardware Storage Facilities
- Private Residents
Pen testers assess the performance of a company’s physical assets when under attack.
Cloud Security Penetration Testing
Cloud security pen tests are essential in helping companies invested in cloud technology protect vulnerable assets. The flexibility and autonomy offered by solutions like Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) and Platform as a Service (PaaS) technology also expose organizations to new security threats.
With RedTeam Security and our testing methodology, companies get experts who understand the risks associated with using cloud technology. They look for potential exposures from an organization’s application, network, and configuration in a business’s cloud set up that could give hackers access to:
- Company Credentials
- Internal Systems
- Sensitive Data
Companies receive feedback on any identified security gaps and steps they should take to fix the vulnerabilities before outside threats discover them.
IoT Security Penetration Testing
IoT security pen tests focus on exposing any hardware and software flaws that could allow bad actors to access a business’s sensitive data or take over company systems. They examine the different components in IoT devices for vulnerabilities like:
- Weak Passwords
- Insecure Protocols
- Insecure APIs
- Insecure Communication Channels
- Product-specific Vulnerabilities